Eckhart Tolle said if you are truly in the present moment, you cannot be unhappy. Who am I to disagree but…I don’t agree. Nope. This has seemed to not be the case in MY case Eckhart.
I have been making more of an effort to be ‘in the now’ (because that’s what’s all the rage nowadays folks) and I realized I don’t need to wait for those ‘perfect’ moments when it’s easy to relax. I don’t need to wait for when it’s quiet and the sun is shining and it’s easy to feel that soft peace infuse my soul.
It’s easy to feel ‘in the now’ when ‘now’ is restful or beautiful. Out in nature, or alone watching the sun set behind your favorite Willow tree with a plate of hot chocolate lava cake in your hand. Ahhhh. Where was I?
Oh yes, being present when the ‘present’ totally sucks.
For instance, just yesterday on the way home Benji was screaming his displeasure at the torture device we call a car seat, and Ellie is suddenly, urgently demanding to pee, each time getting a little louder and a little whinier, competing with Ben for auditory dominance. Or my attention, I guess.
So normally you try to speed through those moments right, just, ugh, get through them so you can get to the ‘happy’ moments. Fast forward the screaming car-ride home moments and get to the cuddling-on-the-couch moments right?
Well, maybe, wrong?
So I did it today on the way home. Instead of wishing I was on the couch (alone!) with a cup of hot tea and a bowl full of double-chocolate-fudge cake, I really tried to be present. It was kind of an awful moment of above-mentioned screaming and theatrics that normally I try to just…endure.
But the sun was shining, so that was nice, and the air was cool, and the car in front of me had one of those Halloween hand things sticking out of the back door and I had to smile and then…then the moment was over. Ben fell asleep, Ellie stopped crying too and I thought, huh.
That actually made things easier to handle. HOLY CRAP. This stuff actually works. I mean, I wasn’t HAPPY but, I wasn’t worried about the fact that I wasn’t happy. And I was kind of joyful, almost? Under the unhappy.
So later that day when we went out to eat and Benji dumped all the toys I brought to entertain him on the ground and played with the container I brought them in instead, I just laughed. What can you do?
When Bill’s car refused to start when we tried to leave, and Benji was screaming as I tried to boost Bill’s car battery with the van and it wasn’t working, I knew as long as I didn’t detach myself from the moment by wishing myself into a better one, we would get through the moment just fine.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows how momentous this is. I. Hate. Babies. Crying.
Cannot stand it. It triggers some totally primal part of me and I can’t even think straight.
I have been known to pull over to the side of the road to try to soothe Benji rather than try to drive home while he cries.
I HAVE walked up to strangers and tried to calm their babies. (Not my finest moments. Mom’s were not amused.) I have also dropped my milk and eggs in the cereal aisle and RAN AWAY from crying babies in a grocery store. (Yes, yes I really did).
I don’t know why it affects me so deeply, so powerfully but it will spin me from a cool 3 to a nail-biting I’m-a-nervous-wreck 11 in about 4 seconds flat. I’d rather have a hot potato to my eyeball than sit and listen to a baby cry.
Ok. You get the picture. So I’m gunning the engine trying to start his battery and Benji is screaming and I’m hearing him, and I’m singing to him to try to soothe him but for some reason while I’m hyper-focused in the moment, on that moment, being THERE in the parking lot, helping my husband, the anxiety associated with the screaming just isn’t there. Or, maybe it's there but I'm kind of watching it like I'm watching everything else?
And the moment passed. As all moments do. And I felt grateful that I hadn’t spent it wishing I was somewhere else. You can wish a whole life away like that. But I won’t. Not anymore. Ok, not as much, at least. After all we can't always be sipping hot tea and eating chocolate cake now, can we?
“When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.” Osho.